Jail inmates take up brush and paints

Kendrapara: Inmates of the local prison here have taken up the brush and are unplugging their creative skills to keep away stress and fight the monotony of confinement. Motivated by the jail authorities, some have even tried their hands in sculpting with other subtle artistry.

"It is an initiative to reform law-breakers. The experiment which is a part of jail reforms programme, has turned out to be a huge success. Many inmates are evincing interest in art,"jail superintendent S R Sahu said. For the inmates the foray into art has become the medium of expression for their feelings, guilt, anguish and desperation.They have used the prison walls as their canvas.

Arakhita Mallick of Adampur village is in jail since June for murdering under the influence of liquor his spouse Mamata, who was the sarpanch of Dashipur gram panchayat. His two daughters are now being taken care of by their grandparents. Mallick painted a young couple with two daughters in tow on the wall. Apparently, it is an expression of his atonement and repentance for the wrong done. He did not know anything about drawing and painting but slowly he is picking up the skill,"said Sahu.

Another inmate Mohan Kumar Mandal has taken to sculpture. "Initially I did this to kill time. Now I am deriving immense pleasure from it," he said. ? The art works of the prisoners hold the pride of place in the visitors room of the jail. Some visitors have donated art materials like brushes, paints, colours and materials for sculpting.  "We have no funds earmarked for purchasing materials. But people are impressed and are helping us. The jail staff are also contributing towards procurement of materials," the jail superintendent said.